Philly Boxing History

SEPTEMBER 12, 1932





On this day in 1932, Benny Bass and Tony Falco kicked off their all-Philly rivalry that spanned two fights over three years.

Tony Falco, who was known as the "South Philly Sheik" was named the number one contender for Barney Ross'  Jr. Welterweight crown by the National Boxing Association (NBA) after victories over former champ Jackie Kid Berg, Young Peter Jackson and Bobby Pacho in New York.  The NBA ordered Ross to defend against Falco on April  30, 1934 but the match never materialized.

Falco and Philadelphia legend Benny Bass (ex 126 and 130 lb world champ) had a bitter feud that had the local boxing community buzzing for years.  Tony, who was managed by Phil Glassman and was a stable mate of Bass, was considered a can't-miss prospect who was riding a 36-bout unbeaten streak.  But he was tired of playing second banana to Bass and demanded a shot at Benny.  He asked Glassman to release him from his contract so he could meet Bass.  Glassman let him go.  The cocky Falco predicted that he was a sure thing to beat Bass, which angered and disappointed Benny.

"Off all the fights I've had, there never was one, said Benny, that I'd rather win than this one.  It's more than just a fight to me.  Its a matter of pride - and you can tell the fans that Benny Bass takes pride in his work.  For the last six months all I've heard was 'Falco can lick Bass,' and I'm a little bit burned up.  You see, I brought Tony along when he was just a kid.  And now he and all his friends belittle my efforts and love to tell what Tony will do to me."

They fought at the brand new Convention Hall on September 12, 1932 before a packed house.  In a vicious battle, Bass had Tony down four times and on the verge of a KO in the final round (10th) when he seemed to let up and allow Tony to last the limit. Falco was furious that Bass went easy on him and remained bitter towards "The Little Fish." 

Ironically, two months later, Bass sued Glassman to let him out of his contract.  One of the points in his testimony was that he was made to carry "a score or more" opponents on Glassman's orders.

Bass then signed with Max (Boo-Boo) Hoff, a former partner of Glassman and now a hated rival.  A few years later, the highly rated Falco returned to the Glassman fold but just a few months after this, Bass left Hoff and re-signed with Glassman as well.  It wasn't long before Tony wanted out and left Phil and campaigned for a Bass showdown, which took place at the Arena in April of 1935.  After another bitter struggle Bass was awarded the decision in the rematch, but many thought Tony had won it. 

Phil Glassman later had a feud with Herman Taylor that wound up in court.  All of this in Philadelphia - "the City of Brotherly Love!"

  1927 - Bennie Bass W10 Red Chapman at Municipal Stadium in South Philly (Bass won title)
  1932 - Eddie Cool W8 Joey Costa at Convention Hall in West Philly
  1932 - Harry Serody W8 Mike Marshall at Convention Hall in West Philly
  1932 - Charley Loughran KO2 Pete McDonough at Convention Hall in West Philly
  1961 - Joey Giardello W10 Jesse Smith at the Arena in West Philly
  1961 - Mel Middleton W10 Gene Gresham at the Arena in West Philly
  1961 - Johnny Alford W6 Chico Corsey at the ARena in West Philly
  1961 - Percy Manning KO3 Joey Meyers at the Arena in West Philly